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SIMI holds first Independent Aftermarket Conference

The Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) held its first Independent Aftermarket Conference recently in the Red Cow Moran Hotel Dublin. The event was the joint effort of both the Society’s Independent Retailer and Wholesaler Committees, which attracted numerous attendees from the independent sector, motor factors and vehicle parts distributors.

The primary focus of the Conference was for those in the aftermarket sector with guest speakers reflecting both the Irish and European Aftermarket experience. Jim Power, Economist presented on the Irish economy and the impact of Brexit on the motor industry while Keith Browne of Keith Browne Consulting gave an account of the importance of maximising profitability in the Aftermarket business. 

(l-r) Frank Byrnes, Frank Byrnes Autobody Repairs, Gillian Fanning, Chairperson, Vehicle Parts Distributors Sector, Quentin Le Hetet, GiPA, Keith Browne, Keith Browne Consulting, Jan Bambas, FIGIEFA, Emma Mitchell, Director SIMI, Jim Power, Economist, Alan Nolan, Director General SIMI.

The European perspective came from guest speakers Quentin Le Hetet of GiPA, who gave an insightful presentation on the global trends affecting the Irish Independent Aftermarket, in terms of automotive market context, Irish consumers attitude to vehicle maintenance and the aftermarket megatrends. Jan Bambas of FIGIEFA outlined the impact of current and future technologies on the Independent Aftermarket and the EU Agenda. He underlined how FIGIEFA are highlighting to the EU the importance of the need of robust European legislation to ensure a fair level playing field with Vehicle Manufacturers when it comes to the sharing of data.

Dr John McCarthy of ARUP shared his thoughts on the changing automotive industry from traditional to autonomous vehicles, the ownership and value of data, challenges for the aftermarket in gaining information and keeping up to date. The final speaker of the day Frank Brynes of Frank Byrnes Autobody Repairs told his story on how to successfully market your business and optimise the use of social media. 

“The Automotive Aftermarket is changing rapidly and facing an increasing number of challenges, both at a macro and micro level.” Said Gillian Fanning, Chairperson, Vehicle Parts & Equipment Distributors Sector and Conference M.C.

“This Conference has given those in our sector the opportunity to understand better the trends, opportunities and challenges facing us and the actions that we need to take in order to ensure our continued competitiveness.” Fanning added.